Preview: Red Bull Salzburg vs. Inter Milan

Preview: Red Bull Salzburg vs. Inter Milan

Inter Milan will endeavour to secure their spot in the Champions League last 16 when they travel to Austria to face Red Bull Salzburg in Group D on Wednesday night.

The two teams meet at the Red Bull Arena just two weeks after the Nerazzurri claimed a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture at San Siro on matchday three.

Since losing to Inter at the end of October, Red Bull Salzburg have won each of their last three domestic matches, with a penalty-shootout triumph over Hartberg in the last 16 of the Austrian Cup sandwiched between two Austrian Bundesliga wins over Rheindorf Altach and WSG Tirol.

Teenage striker Karim Konate scores his ninth and 10th goals of the season in a 2-0 away victory against WSG Tirol last weekend to help Gerhard Struber’s side leapfrog Sturm Graz to the top of the table.

Salzburg enter matchday four of the Champions League group stage sitting third in Group D after claiming three points from as many matches – all three accumulated in a 2-0 win at Benfica – but they face an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout rounds as they are four points adrift of both Inter and Real Sociedad in the top two.

The Bulls, who have been eliminated at the group stage in four of their previous five Champions League campaigns, have only won six of their 23 meetings with Italian clubs in European competition.

Three defeats have been recorded in Salzburg’s last four matches at the Red Bull Arena, a concerning run of home form for Struber’s side, but the Austrian outfit have only lost one of their previous seven home encounters with Italian teams and require another positive result on Wednesday to keep their last-16 hopes alive.

Inter Milan extended their unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions and claimed their fourth successive victory when they beat Atalanta BC 2-1 away from home in Serie A last weekend.

Hakan Calhanoglu converted from the penalty spot five minutes before half time to break the deadlock before in-form striker Lautaro Martinez netted his 12th league goal in 11 games to double the visitors’ advantage just before the hour mark.

Gianluca Scamacca pulled one back for the hosts, but Simone Inzaghi’s men held on to claim their ninth top-flight win of the season and remain at the summit, sitting two points clear of Juventus in second.

Inter are now focused fully on progressing out of their Champions League group for the third season in a row and are aware that a victory on Wednesday will be enough to guarantee a top-two finish in Group D with two games to spare; securing maximum points will also see Inzaghi’s men extend their unbeaten away run in the competition to five games for the first time since February 2005.

The Nerazzurri will be confident of success against Salzburg as they have won each of their previous three meetings with the Bulls as well as nine of their last 10 encounters with Austrian clubs.

Red Bull Salzburg Champions League form:

Red Bull Salzburg form (all competitions):

Inter Milan Champions League form:

Inter Milan form (all competitions):

We say: Red Bull Salzburg 1-2 Inter Milan
Salzburg will hope to transfer their recent domestic form onto the Champions League stage as they can ill-afford to lose against Inter if they wish to keep their slim hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.

However, the Nerazzurri are a force to be reckoned with at present and should ultimately have too much quality throughout their side, particularly in the final third with Martinez leading the line, for their Austrian counterparts.

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